Opinion: Travis Scott, Live Nation should have done more to avert concert tragedy

Travis+Scotts+second-annual+Astroworld+Festival+was+held+on+November+5%2C+resulting+in+at+least+9+deaths.

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

Travis Scott’s second-annual Astroworld Festival was held on November 5, resulting in at least 9 deaths.

Sam Tobiczyk, Multimedia Editor

With the ninth confirmed death from Travis Scott’s Astroworld Music Festival happening Thursday night, it is time to start looking into accountability for this horrific tragedy.

While Live Nation, the company responsible for the concert, is certainly responsible for the traumatic events of Nov. 5, Scott himself also should be held responsible for the casualties. 

Scott is well known for inciting unruly behavior at his shows, some of which have resulted in criminal charges against him. In two previous instances Scott has pleaded guilty to inciting a riot.

With this year’s festival, his chaotic nature continued, with little done on his part to prevent pandemonium. Instead, he actively encouraged it. 

Back in May, right after the Nov. 5 concert sold out, Scott tweeted, “NAW AND WE STILL SNEAKING THE WILD ONES IN,” referring to fans who did not get a ticket for this annual event. He encouraged his fans to sneak in people without tickets, leading to overcrowding, 

While this tweet may not have directly influenced fans last week, since it was tweeted back in May, he still found reason to delete the tweet after the tragedy occurred. The atmosphere created by this tweet and other statements and sentiments from Scott certainly contributed to fans deciding to rush the stage, leading to a packed crowd.

This overcrowding likely played a part in the casualties and injuries from the crowd crush, which is a phenomenon at cramped events where crowd members asphyxiate due to not having enough room to stand and breathe. 

While Scott and his legal representation put out a statement saying that he was unaware of the situation transpiring in front of him — leading him to perform for an additional 37 minutes before leaving the stage — he should have been aware of it. 

Artists have a responsibility to the fans for whom they are performing. There have been many instances in the past of artists stopping a show when they notice endangered guests, whether it was Kurt Cobain stopping a potential rapist, or Billie Eilish noticing a fan about to pass out and offering them water. 

 

Artists have a responsibility to the fans for whom they are performing.”

 

In both of these situations, the artist momentarily stopped the show, making sure everyone was safe. Scott did stop his performance a few times, but quickly went back into his set. 

Scott claims to have been unaware of the greater situation unfolding in front of him. This led to him failing to stop the show when emergency vehicles were trying to make their way through the crowd to distressed individuals.

Artists should be in control of the crowd they are performing before, and Scott did not use this power at all to prevent the tragedy. 

Though Scott has a significant portion of blame for this incident, the concert provider Live Nation is just as much to blame.

The producers of the concert also failed to stop the performance for 37 minutes after the event was declared one of mass casualty. Even when audience members were begging staff members, shouting that people were dying, they still let the show go on.

Authorities can debate whether this was criminal negligence or not, but either way, Live Nation neglected to help those suffering in the crowd. 

According to the staff’s operation plan, there weren’t even provisions about what to do during a crowd crush. Negligent preparations like this cannot be accepted, especially considering past similar events, like the 1979 Who concert and the Hillsborough soccer game in England, both of which had a large number of casualties.

Moreover, the concert staff and producers didn’t stop the show before it started, knowing that many people had gone through the gates to enter the event illegally. Common sense would tell anyone that a sold-out event that then ends up having more people sneak in would be overcrowded. Knowing of previous disasters involving overcrowding, Live Nation employees should have stopped the tragedy before it took place. 

Another factor contributing to the casualties sustained during the concert was the lack of communication between the medical staff on site and the firefighters coordinating parts of the event. 

The company hired to provide medical staff outlined a plan to give each staff member a two-way radio, but it is unclear whether this occurred or not. The firefighters outside the event were only given the phone numbers of select staff members, with these staff members not responding throughout the commotion, according to news reports.

While it is unclear whether it was the failure of the company hired to provide medical staff or Live Nation, the latter should have made sure that the private medical staff had their radios.

The company failed continuously throughout the night to stop the crowd surge, before and during the event. 

Both Live Nation and Travis Scott should be held accountable for the nine deaths that resulted from the events of Nov. 5, with Live Nation failing to stop the concert, and Scott encouraging overcrowding, and failing to notice when this congestion led to casualties.